Friday, September 29, 2006

Subtle Structures

I wrote this about three weeks ago, when I was going through some of the more structuralist aspects of integral thought. Then other issues intervened and let this one go. It's a little dated now, given all that subsequent context, but I'm posting it more just as tying up loose ends.

Warning--dense intellectualizing ahead.

This post deals with the post-metaphysical implications of energy and form (and evolution in those two)--particularly the form/energy that is the human individual body.

I was working on this post earlier, and got sidetracked. Vince has a very good post in a similar vein on Kurzweil the Singularity and its implications for consciousness evolution. Also, I want to point out that within certain integral circles, some of the ideas I'll be using are not accepted. It gets into some very difficult, some arcane. Plus most of this is still of a provisonal/hypothetical nature; still I find it extremely fascinating and mind-opening to contemplate.

While I think that different integral models will yield down the road measurable differences betweeen practicioners/adherents of a certain camp, I'm still not agnostic on the question of whether that difference will be very large--on the more important issues--and to exactly how far and how tightly we need to bind to one or another. I imagine each will have noticable benefits-strenghts and weaknesses/shadows to each. As an example, I recommend any of Andrew Smith's considered writings.

I don't want to get into a large defensive position vis a vis which Integral system, etc.

I'm just going to use concepts from Wilber--any readers more connected to a different integral setup, I leave it up to you to decide if and what/how any ideas expressed here would translate over. Also, I'm goinig into a more spectulative territory here. I'm asking questions the framework brings up for me--so this is just my own ruminating, not "integral gospel" truth.


All of these reflections take as their starting point, Excerpt G : Towards a Comprehensive Theory of Subtle Energies. As with all integral conceptualizing, it is only that--a mental categorization using dead signifiers (words/numbers) as demi-abstractions, as simply pointers to an arising. Just meant to bring some clarity into otherwise somewhat disparate threads, in order to hopefully better guide our actions and build mutual bonds of affection, and have a vaster and deeper awe of the Life Process.

The graph above (from Excerpt G) invovles the addition of the notion of energy and its subtilization in the evolutionary process--i.e. post-metaphysics applied to subtle energy.

I covered in the earlier posts that one of the key AQAL integral threads involved the correlation between interiority and matter, formulated as the Law of Complexity and Consciousness: the more of the one, the more of the other. The more complex the materia, the more reflective the conscioiusness and vice versa. This placing of materia (matter) as the 3rd person perspective of any arising and not the lowest level of existence is what I dsicussed earlier as consciousness as intra-physical versus meta-physical. The method: Pull back, take the Observer position and simply trace the development of the two over time and note how they always hold this correlated relationship. This method illuminates a time-bound trajectory, an Eros, with emergent creative leaps interspersed throughout. And that these emergent leaps only arise, say in the fossil record as part of a population (the co-arising of the quadrants). How this happens, hwo there is creativity, how there is emergence, how a population just "emerges" is left open. Simply filed under Creative Novelty, Eros, whatever.

Subtle energy enters into this process thusly---a quotation from Excerpt G (emphasis mine):

#3. Further—and this is the connecting hypothesis— increasing complexity of gross form is correlated with increasingly subtlety of energies. As evolution proceeds to more and more complex gross forms, the increasing degree of gross complexity is accompanied by subtler and subtler corresponding (or signature) energy patterns. Since we are at this point focusing on individual beings, we have this: increasing evolution brings increasing complexity of gross form (in the UR), which is correlated with an increasing degree of consciousness (in the UL), and, in the UR itself, a subtilization of corresponding energies. Thus, instead of interpreting higher levels as being essentially divorced from gross matter or gross form, the complexification of gross form is the vehicle of manifestation for both subtler energies and greater consciousness. Excerpt G Part I

This addition gives the outside view of a 3rd person (3px3p) as consisting of both form and energy=mass/energy. All of which again involve human minds interpreting--giving words like energy, mass, etc. Energy and mass are just probability waves of finding a certain arising within the created matrix. Signature energy patterns are the highest probability of any "energy" location. Just fluid heuristics. Part of our embodiment and mental participation in existence.

So contrary to the traditional view we are not assuming subtle energy patterns have been laid down from the beginning, static and fixed, in every way metaphysical (as in the Great Chain model). Here's Wilber again:

But, again, it is not that these energy fields are radically meta-physical, because if they were, then all of these fields (because they would not in any way be bound to physical objects), could and would be surrounding all physical objects, whereas in fact, these fields only emerge with (and surround) material objects of a corresponding degree of complexity. A rock does not have an emotional field; a worm does not have a mental field, and so on. Taking advantage of the modern (or naturalistic) turn allows us to anchor these fields in nature without reducing them to nature. A natural history of these energy fields shows that they emerge in correlation with the degree of complexity of gross form, and both of them together (the form and its corresponding energy) are the UR correlates (or the observable exteriors) of the UL increase in degrees of consciousness.

The graph above shows this emergence in the evolutionary record. If one holds to some sort of vision of a prior Involution, then we could say that these subtle energy patterns were, however lightly "deposited" during Involution. But again not taken literally--for as is clear Involution, energy as described in this post-metaphysical way only itself ex-ists in certain worldspaces. What we define as these terms are what they are for us--and will be negated and their enduring factors preserved later. If not, then just see how they emerge in the record.

[It's really wild always referencing the interpretive element in arising.]

But anyway, Wilber gives a provisional schema for categorizing the energy patterns and their correlation with degrees of compelxity-consciousness. You can see it here (scroll down midway through page).

It employs the traditional family, genus, species distinction.

families are gross, subtle, and causal.
genus: etheric ( L-1 or biofield-1)
species: 1) red, (2) blue, (3) orange, (4) green

Now a couple of things. The reference to energy speices as neuronal cord, reptilian stem, or say blue, are the energy patterns correlated with those arisings--by humans at a certain pov label as blue, reptilian brain stem, etc.

Brain stem is a matter signifier, blue a structuralist (3px1p) descriptor of interior consciousness. So the energy patterns involved are not signifed by these terms as such, but rather the correlated energy pattern associated. Whatever we are going to call those names, do not ex-ist yet. See footnote 2 for explanation of this.

Second point. In post-metaphysics with the rough distinction between horizontal state (and trained state-stages) and vertical structure stages (levels), energy and mass get very interesting/tricky. Might we say there are corresponding state (stage-stage) energies and structure-stage energies. Footnote 2 refers to microenergetic signature patterns, for things like "blue energy" (corresponding blue signature energy qua probability wave).

Ken once more:

This model allows us to see how an infant can have access to the 3 great states and bodies of gross reality, subtle reality, and causal reality—but not in any developed fashion that would allow it to permanently master those realms. Permanent realization and mastery demands development and evolution through the actual levels/stages, a development that converts "temporary states" to "permanent traits." Nonetheless, according to Vedanta/Vajrayana, all of the structures/stages/levels of consciousness—whether we say there are 5 of them, or 7 of them, or 12 of them, or more—are all variations on these 3 great realms of consciousness and their 3 supporting bodies or energies.

The reason that model is especially important for subtle energies is that it allows us to see why an infant would possess a gross energy field, a subtle energy field, and a causal energy field (because it wakes, dreams, and sleeps), but it would NOT possess the species and subspecies energy fields that go with the specific stages/levels of consciousness unless it has actually developed those stages. For example, an infant, like an adult, would possess the family energy fields of gross, subtle, and causal, but not the genus subfields such as T-1, T-2, etc.—in exactly the same what that the infant possesses the same general dream state as an adult, but does not yet contain, within that dream state, any thoughts from the stages of blue, orange, yellow, etc.

What does it mean to say that the stages give the content to the states or that stages are basically variations on the great states? The relationship between states and stages is just a portal into greater and greater contemplation, absorption into the mysteriousness of interiority. States as the way to openness, deep love and merciful presence through the hard work of perspectives, transparency.

To quote Padmashambhava: Swooping down with the View (State-Absolute) I climb the mountain of Karma (Stages-Relativity).

In other words, the postulated levels of violet, ultraviolet (and all subsequent sub-stages and all quadratic variations thereof, surface features/deep structures, multiple lines) are a stage instantiation of the Causal Body--what the Tibetans call the Very Subtle.

Very Subtle in this case gives us a sense of the possibilities. Indigo awakens an ego-aware identity and an inner imperative to evolve.

But violet and ultraviolet are the deep and utter immersion of Heart. An entire worldsapce, an entire way of being in this world of being beyond it seems even the push towards evolution. A profound causal-like embrace of all reality, evolution itself being discovered to be whatever it is--since the tier (4th?) has not emerged we have no real idea of what evolution/perspectives are. They are our "IOU" to the KOSMOS. And at this point, there is no way to stop the spin off into a New Agey utopia-sounding discourse, which likely would just get turned into a kind of romantic mush.

The picture above shows a view of the large family units of gross, subtle, and causal energy and their co-emergence (though not reduction to) with certain material forms and corresponding degree of interiority. None of the triad consciousness, form, and energy are reducible to the other--the evolutionary paradigm reveals a worldspace of correlations/intearctions not causality. The reference to the human organism as having 3 bodies and then micro-energentic patterns of the stages, helps with the understanding of the question if all stages are transcend/include then why each new level of human consciousness would not require a separate "brain"--like a new brain stem.

The SF1, SF2 are simply the labels for the yet unnamed and as yet not completely described/detailed brain patterns/configurations associated with certain stages of consciousness. The energy patterns discussed earlier--the genus/species variety--would go with these brain patterns. In other words, neuropsychology is in the process through PET scans and so on of photographing the human mind in certain states/traits of conscioousness. Same basic structure (neocortex-subtle body) with variations on a micro-stage level (SF2, green energy, etc.).

Most technically, neuropsychology uses a certain degree of sophisticated technology which reveals data of the human brain as it appears from inside (not within--which is consciousness, feeling, thought). So that evidence whichi s only accessed by a certain injunction-technology-level of complexity of thought is then read back into the earlier waves, worldspaces.

Part II to follow...


At 1:33 AM, Blogger timbomb said...

CJ, would you please stop jabbing that prybar into my head? :)

At 6:17 AM, Blogger CJ Smith said...

sorry homes. that should be the last of that for awhile--maybe.


Post a Comment

<< Home